Blackwater Castle, North Co.Cork

Blackwater Castle, North Co.Cork

Handfasting, an ancient Celtic tradition

Gardens beyond the Stone Wall

Lawns beside the Castle & Mansion House

Photography:  Sharon Quigley

Your Idyllic Irish Castle Wedding

If you are searching for a private hire of a luxury romantic medieval Irish Castle & Mansion House, with all the olde world charm you could imagine, a convenient distance from Cork City and International Airport, you can’t go past Blackwater Castle located just outside the village of Castletownroche, in North County Cork. 

One of Co.Cork’s most sought-after destination wedding venues, now re-opened for 2024, Blackwater Castle is is located 60km from Cork Airport (50 mins), and a short distance from the Cork to Dublin motorway.

It’s stunning cliff-top location overlooking the River Blackwater, with meticulous gardens, lawn areas with private woodland backdrops offers a breath-taking selection of outdoor choices for your ceremony and picturesque photo opportunities too numerous to mention!

If an indoor ceremony is more your liking, (or as weather dictates) there are several choices for a glamourous indoor ceremony, with all rooms in the mansion house classically decorated and filled with natural sunlight, with beautiful panoramic views of garden beyond.

The original tower house adjoining the castle mansion house is home to a genuine sheela-na-gig stone, which in mythical Irish folklore is a well-known fertility token.   Where it was once believed that a maiden who touches the sheela-na-gig and makes a wish, will fall with child soon after!

There is also access to the tower house roof for stunning photographs, on request.

The castle’s flexible approach allows couples to place their own stamp on their big day.   Management will do theif utmost to fulfil your wedding wishes, ensuring your perfect day, your way.


With 9 bedrooms, 6 reception rooms including bar, professional kitchen, plus additional accomodation in the extensive fully converted stables housing up to approx. 100 guests, makes a perfect self-contained setting for your idyllic romantic castle wedding getaway.  

Entertaining your Guests on your Wedding Day

Blackwater Castle welcomes all musicians and suppliers that you wish to include for your special day, and offer bucketloads of friendly advice and guidance for every aspect of your wedding day.

Post Wedding Party

The whole castle and accommodation is available for exclusive hire and can be booked for several days before and after your wedding with various packages on offer.

Contact Blackwater Castle at any time to make an appointment for a chat and viewing, you’ll be so glad you did!


Sharon Q.

Celebrant / Registered Solemniser of Marriages

Yoga Alliance RYT200 Registered Yoga & Meditation teacher, Community Volunteer, Musician, Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister, Visionary & Creator of dreams.

Tel: +353 (0) 858 313 43

Can a Celebrant Legally Marry You in Ireland?

Can a Celebrant Legally Marry You in Ireland?

This question is causing a lot of confusion with couples in Ireland.  Can a celebrant legally marry you in Ireland?  The answer is – not all Celebrants in Ireland are authorised to conduct legal marriages.  For your wedding ceremony to be a legal marriage, your Celebrant must be a Registered Solemniser of Marriages – duly authorised by the HSE. 

Registered Solemnisers are the Celebrants who represent the Government in their capacity as Solemnisers of legal marriage.  Each Registered Solemniser is required to have extensive training over a number of years along with an impeccable knowledge and experience of all aspects of the requirements of the Marriage Act. 

Celebrant is a general term which describes a person who conducts a ceremony of any kind.   Any member of the public can conduct a ceremony as a celebrant, but not every celebrant can conduct a legal marriage ceremony. 

Wedding Celebrants in Ireland can be classified into one of the following two categories:

  1.  Those who are Registered to Solemnise legal marriages, known as Registered Solemnisers, and
  2.  Lay Celebrants –  those who conduct wedding ceremonies which don’t have any legal standing, because Lay Celebrants aren’t authorised by the government to Solemnise legal marriage.   Many Lay Celebrants do indeed conduct beautiful ceremonies.  However, if you engage a Lay Celebrant to conduct your wedding ceremony, you won’t be legally married.   In order to be legally married, you will also need to attend a Civil Registration office with your witnesses on another day to be married with a Registry office marriage.

In fact in my home country of Australia, it is illegal for a Lay Celebrant to conduct a wedding ceremony for a couple who are not already legally married.   Here in Ireland (at this time) there is no such law,  however with so much confusion brought about by the surge in the number of Lay celebrants now calling themselves “Registered Celebrants”, it is inevitable that will change sometime in the not too distant future.

If your wish is to be legally married in Ireland, with a unique and meaningful ceremony designed to your own requirements, with your beloved family & friends with you as your witnesses, your best choice is to find a Celebrant (like myself) who is not only able to create a unique & personalised ceremony to your exact wishes, but who is also duly authorised and Registered to Solemnise legal marriages. 

Your ceremony will only be Religious if you are married in a Church which prohibits interfaith marriages or if your marriage is conducted by a Registered Solemniser who is required to talk about their Religion and its beliefs during your ceremony,   With a non-denominational Holistic Minister like myself as your Celebrant, your ceremony will be a non-Religious ceremony if that’s what you wish.  The true evidence of this can be seen on your legal marriage certificate, where there is no mention of any Rites & Ceremonies taking place, (as there is with a Religious ceremony) or any mention of the name of any Religion or Church (as there is with a Religious ceremony).

Your marriage ceremony can also be a Spiritual Ceremony, Mixed faith ceremony, or Spiritual with a religious feel, or any combination in between!  If your family has a Pastor, he/she can take part in your ceremony and give you a blessing, you are limited only by your imagination.

With so many Registered Solemnisers in Ireland, who can conduct legal marriages, your job is to find a Solemniser who you get along well with and who shares your beliefs. (pick me!).  The ceremonial services provided by each Solemniser is very much unique to their own character and individual style – it’s up to you to find the Marriage Solemniser who is right for you, you need to do the job interview!.

Civil Ceremony

Here in Ireland you can choose to pay an extra fee to the HSE and book a HSE Civil Registrar to attend your wedding venue outside of office hours, to conduct a Registry Office marriage there for you, also known as a “Civil Ceremony”.   This is the standard government non-religious ceremony and is perfect for those who don’t wish to have a unique ceremony designed to their wishes, and who don’t wish to include any Spiritual or Religious elements.  

A Civil Ceremony in Ireland is not the same as a Civil Ceremony in Australia, where the meaning of a Civil Ceremony is a ceremony designed to your own wishes by a Celebrant who is self employed.  The Marriage Act in Australia is very different in that regard.  Here in Ireland a Civil Ceremony is a Registry Office Marriage, a standard government ceremony, conducted by an employee of the HSE Civil Registration Office,  The Civil Ceremony in Ireland is short and simple without any fuss.  Perfect for those who prefer this option.

How to Find Your Celebrant

Some of the best ways to find your Celebrant/Solemniser include asking your friends about any memorable and remarkable weddings they have attended in Ireland, or ask your wedding venue to recommend you a Registered Solemniser who conducts a lot of ceremonies with them.  Of course you can use website search for your wedding venue and the word “Solemniser” eg. “Dromoland Castle Solemniser” and see what comes up, see how much effort they have made to ensure their website is presentable and informative.

Of course I’d love to speak with you about your ceremony requirements, I would be honoured to work with you.  But I realise choosing Celebrant is a very important decision you must make for yourself after meeting up in person, or by Zoom or by having a good chat on the phone.  You should never cut corners by missing this vital step to interview your potential Solemniser/Celebrant to make sure they are right for you.

Most of the time, couples just don’t realise that there is an abundance of Celebrants in Ireland (like myself) who are Registered to Solemnise legal marriage, and that they should spend a little more time looking for the right one.  With the abundance of Marriage Solemnisers and gorgeous wedding venues, it’s now a wonderful time to be legally married in Ireland! 

Celebrant Guarantee

As a valued member of the Enchanted Ceremonies group of Holistic Ministers & Celebrants there is always a backup Celebrant on hand in case of an unforeseen emergency - this is your Celebrant guarantee!

Your Special Day

If you believe your ceremony should be an important part of your special day, no matter how big or small your ceremony wishes may be, you have found the right place.

If you would like a ceremony as unique as you are - created to suit your own style, please don't hesitate to get in touch so I can answer any questions you might have - and to find out if I am available on your big day.  I would be honoured to work with you!

Innishannon House Hotel, Co.Cork

Innishannon House Hotel, Co.Cork

If you are searching for a luxury country riverside mansion house hotel with olde world charm within a stone’s throw of Cork City, you can’t go past Innishannon House Hotel.  One of Co.Cork’s popular wedding venue destinations, the hotel is located 19km from Cork Airport (15 mins), 12 km (17 mins) from world famous Kinsale and 8km (10 Mins) from Bandon.

It’s river location with stunning gardens, offers a breath-taking selection of outdoor choices for your ceremony and picturesque photo opportunities too numerous to mention!

If an indoor ceremony is more your liking, (or as weather dictates) the classically decorated River Suite is filled with natural sunlight and has beautiful panoramic views of The Rose Garden and the Bandon River.

The River Suite comfortably seats 200 people for dinner with an additional 120 guests for afters. The hotel’s flexible approach allows couples to place their own stamp on their big day. Staff will do theif utmost to fulfil your wedding wishes, ensuring your perfect day, your way.

Centrepieces in the form of storm lamps, oriental lillies in tall vases and flowers from the garden are provided for your wedding meal as standard.

Smaller Weddings are hosted in The Frankfort Suite (max: 30 Adults) or The Garden Room (max: 28 Adults).

Given our unpredictable Irish weather, we know that you want to make the very most of a fine summer’s day! French doors open to a terrace so that your guests can soak up the sunshine. There is plenty of outdoor seating directly off the Frankfort Suite, so that your Welcome Reception Drinks can be moved outdoors when the sun shines! If you choose to have a musician, they may like to play in the Frankfort Suite where the Welcome Reception is, or they may like to move out to the terrace if the weather is fine.


All 23 ensuite bedrooms are automatically reserved on the night of your wedding. The Bridal Suite is complimentary on your wedding night (terms and conditions apply). There is a combination of double rooms, twin rooms and family rooms. The Bride and Groom are responsible for allocating all bedrooms to guests in advance of the wedding.

Accommodation in the days before and after your wedding can also be booked by guests and this is subject to availability.

There are a host of nearby  B and Bs and Hotels that can accommodate your guests when all rooms in Innishannon House are taken. Taxis for guests can be organised at the hotel reception.

Entertaining your Guests on your Wedding Day

We welcome all musicians and extras that you wish to include for your special day, including Candy Carts, lemonade stands and lawn games. Margaret Roche, Owner and Wedding Director will happily offer advice and guidance for every aspect of your wedding day.

During the Welcome Reception, musicians may wish to play outdoors on the terrace while guests soak up the sunshine!

Post Wedding Party

A Post Wedding Brunch, Party or BBQ can be hosted the next day and is subject to availability. After your Post Wedding party, relax in The Whiskey Snug for intimate post wedding Drinks! or party the night away in The Innish Bar.

Contact the hotel at any time to make an appointment with their wedding co-ordinator, you’ll be so glad you did!


Sharon Q.

Ceremony Officiant / Registered Solemniser of Marriages

SHAI Registered Sound Therapist, Yoga Alliance RYT200 Registered Yoga & Meditation teacher, MBII Registered Positive Mind Coach, Community Volunteer, Musician, Visionary, Creator of dreams = Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister

Tel: +353 (0) 858 313 43

What is a Holistic Minister ?

What is a Holistic Minister ?

The diversity of Religious organisations in modern Ireland means that it is just not possible to generalise by claiming that Religious Marriage Solemnisers can only conduct religious ceremonies. 

A Holistic Minister is a non-denominational Clergy who doesn’t represent a particular Religion.   Holistic Ministers come from all walks of life, they may be teachers of Yoga & Meditation, Healers, Therapists, Carers, ex-Theologians and Community Volunteers who work on community kindness projects of their own choosing, for the benefit of those in their local area.

This is such a wonderful thing for modern couples in Ireland who wish to be legally married in a unique & personalised, creative &  meaningful ceremony which has been designed & created especially for them, 7 days a week!

What is a Holistic  Minister ?

As a Holistic Minister, my role is varied and diverse.  I am free to serve my local community in my own way, we are as unique as the people we work with and the personalised ceremonies we create.. 

I am a modern spiritual teacher, teaching, meditation, yoga, personal & spiritual development, a variety of womens arts & crafts, along with inspiring womens circles to help women of all ages believe in themselves and achieve their dreams..  I also volunteer in my local community in many ways.  You can find out more about my background and the work I do in the community here on my About Page.

I just love ceremonies!  Each ceremony I create & conduct is an opportunity for me to assist you to celebrate on of life’s most significant events in a manner which is not only relaxed, but also auspicious, meaningful, dignified and memorable for all the right reasons.

I am honoured to be entrusted with such an important responsibility in people’s lives, which I never take for granted. 

If you would like a unique & personalised ceremony designed to your own requirements, because you believe that your ceremony should be an important part of your special day.  I would be honoured to work with you.

What About the Legal Bits?

As an Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister I am registered to solemnise legal marriages in Ireland for people of all faiths or none without discrimation.  This means your ceremony is designed & created to suit your beliefs and wishes, with me as your solemniser and ceremony officiant, your ceremony design possiblities really are endless.

The bonus with me as your solemniser, is that your legal marriage ceremony can be uniquely designed and created to suit your beliefs and wishes no matter what style of ceremony you require.

Non-Legal Wedding Ceremonies

Some couples living overseas will choose to have a non-legal wedding ceremony with family & friends here in ireland because it makes so much more sense in their situation to have their legal marriage in their country of residence..

Whatever your situation I can assist you with the right advice and a unique & personalised ceremony.

If you would liike to get legally married in Ireland, or have a non-legal wedding or what ever ceremony you need please give me a call for a quick chat to find out how easy it really is to have the ceremony of your dreams! 

I would be honoured to work with you.